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Requirements to Become an Occupational Therapist in Washington

Washington is a beautiful state nestled in the Pacific Northwest. Washington is also of the best states in the union to become a licensed Occupational Therapist in. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that Washington had roughly 2,110 licensed Occupational Therapists employed in the year 2010. Additionally, the BLS is forecasting that the Occupational Therapy career will grow at a rate 33% faster than the average occupation during the decade of 2010 to 2020. The BLS compiled data from the 2010 census showing that an Occupational Therapist in Washington had a mean yearly salary of $75,730.

The Occupational Therapy Practice Board is responsible for licensing and regulating occupational therapy professionals in the state of Washington. There are two levels of licensure in Washington the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Occupational Therapist. While you are waiting to sit for your examination you can apply for a temporary license to practice at either level. Temporary licenses require that you work under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist who has a minimum of one year of licensure with the state.

If you want to become an Occupational Therapist in Washington, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to follow these steps:

Washington Physical Theapy License Requirements

Washington, WA Occupational Therapy Assistant Requirements:

  • You must earn an Associate’s degree or higher in Occupational Therapy Assistant program from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 2 months of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • You must take 7 hours of HIV/AIDS training.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You must pass the Washington Jurisprudence Examination which you can find here.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 30 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

Washington, WA Occupational Therapist Requirements:

  • You must earn a Bachelor or Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 6 months of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You must take 7 hours of HIV/AIDS training.
  • You must pass the Washington Jurisprudence Examination which you can find here.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 30 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the online application form to become an Occupational Therapist here.


If you would like to learn more about how to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant in Washington, please examine the following steps.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Certified School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Washington, you must possess at least an Associate’s degree from an ACOTE accredited school. There are five schools in Washington with the necessary accreditation:

  • Bates Technical College
  • Green River Community College
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Pima Medical Institute-Renton
  • Spokane Falls Community College

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE certified school to practice as an Occupational Therapist in Washington. There are three schools in the state with the necessary certification:

  • Eastern Washington University
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Washington

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant you must complete at least two months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must complete at least six months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of Registered Occupational Therapist prior to licensure in Washington.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to practice in the United States, you must first obtain national certification as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. To become certified, you must take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least in the 70th percentile.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To become nationally certified as an Occupational Therapist, you must take the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least in the 70th percentile.

Step 4: Take the Jurisprudence Exam and Apply for a Washington State License

You must pass the open book Jurisprudence exam with a 100 percent score prior to licensure, but you are permitted to retake the online exam as many times as necessary to achieve a perfect score.

You must complete the following procedure to apply for a Washington OT or OTA license:

  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for the $175 license fee
  • Request that NBCOT forward a Verification of Certification to the licensing board
  • Request that all attended schools forward an official transcript to the licensing board
  • Request that all states where you have previously practiced forward a Verification of Licensure to the licensing board

Allow six to eight weeks for the licensing board to issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Licensure

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete at least 30 continuing education competency hours during the licensure cycle in order to qualify for OTA license renewal.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To qualify for license renewal, you must complete at least 30 continuing education competency hours prior to expiration of your current license.

To learn more about the Occupational Therapy profession in Washington, please contact the following organizations:

Washington Occupational Therapy Association